NEX-LABS landscape analysis depicts internal and external challenges and needs to boost innovation in the Mediterranean

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The NEX-LABS project has released the output “Understanding external and internal context for better planning and decision making to create Nexus Driven Open Living Labs (NDOLLs)". The activity was led by Academy of Scientific Research and Technology in Egypt (ASRT) in cooperation with all NEX-LABS partners in Spain, Tunisia, Jordan, Lebanon, Italy and Cyprus. 

The report highlights the comprehensive territorial strategy to define demand/offer, new and/or adapted business support services to increase regional competitiveness, based on Open Innovation Penta Helix models for a better planning of implementation policies to support the technological transfer and commercialization of research results. 

A public version of the report will be available soon.

The methodology

All partners involved in the project have started by developing a list of the most promising studies and initiatives in their countries which was the base of the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis activity and later to be more exploited for SOR (Strengths, Opportunities, and Roadblocks) and PESTLE (Political, Economic, Sociological, Technological, Legal and Environmental) analysis activities. Partners have also identified the stakeholder matrix highlighting main key stakeholders that will be used through the lifetime of the project. Brainstorming sessions have been organized to develop the SOR analysis finally a survey and interviews have been conducted to validate and highlight the PESTLE analysis.  Three main areas have been further scanned in all partners’ countries through the first activity identifying the current inclusive growth support available in the partner countries, general characteristics of the inclusive growth services and practices identified, and the trends of the inclusive innovation process and the practices identified.

Main findings

Through this activity we have learned that there are many similarities among EU Mediterranean countries specially after observing all these landscape analyses. 

It is quite clear the challenges are almost the same in many areas such as:

  • Insufficient Public-Private partnerships;
  • Lack of coordination and the mismatch between governmental strategies and private sector expectations for commercialization;
  • Need to increase regional collaboration opportunities and exchange of expertise around the NEXUS topics;
  • Lack of consolidated interactions between existing networks and communities;
  • Skills gap of human resources and the industry needs;
  • Need to increase the utilization of IPR (Intellectual Property Right) policies in universities and research centers. 

There are also matches in the dire need to transfer research results into economic value and the fragmented activities done in this regard in the whole region. 

NEX-LABS research shows that Living Labs may allow a better use of the feedback of respondents, implying an ameliorated incentive system and a better incorporation of developed products/technologies. 

Living Labs will also allow to address the lack of effective evaluation and monitoring schemes and try to address the economic and technological impact.